Clippers 94, Heat 84
LOS ANGELES (AP)
After nearly a month of exemplary Home play, Marcus Camby believes the Los Angeles Clippers have made a bit of a breakthrough against the inconsistency that has bedeviled this fairly talented team this season.
Chris Kaman had 22 points and 14 rebounds, Baron Davis had 11 points and 14 assists, and the revitalized Clippers surged to their sixth straight home victory, 94-84 over the Heat on Sunday.
Not even a series of visits from the NBA's top shooting guards has slowed down the Clippers, who haven't lost at home since Dec. 13. Eric Gordon scored 17 points and Rasual Butler added 13 for the Clippers, who moved within one game of .500 with another one-sided win in their impressive run at Staples Center.
``We're just in a good groove right now,'' said Camby, who had 17 rebounds. ``People are communicating and covering for each other. Guys are sharing the workload. We have balanced scoring and good defense. It's a pretty good time.''
Los Angeles jumped to a 19-point lead in the first half and wasn't threatened by Miami despite 19 turnovers and a solid start by Wade, who scored 24 points. The Heat have lost five of seven to drop within one game of .500, and Wade emerged frustrated after sitting out the final 8:21 with a game at Utah looming Monday night.
``We've had two teams all year,'' Wade said. ``We've had Miami, and we've got the Heat, and this was Miami today. We came out the wrong way. That team's been playing very well at home, and very well of late, so you can't come out flat. We got behind the 8-ball early and never could recover.''
Although Miami won the opener of its six-game West Coast trip in Phoenix on Friday, the Clippers mostly shut down Wade's teammates. Except for Michael Beasley, who scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half, none of Wade's supporting cast had more than Mario Chalmers' 11 points, which he scored entirely in the final minutes of a blowout.
``D-Wade is a great player, so we definitely wanted to keep everybody else down,'' Camby said.
The Clippers came out with another exhibition of their recent home efficiency, taking a 41-22 lead in the second quarter with a 15-2 run. Los Angeles thrived with coach Mike Dunleavy's plan to make Wade's teammates beat them: Quentin Richardson, Udonis Haslem, Jermaine O'Neal, Dorell Wright and Rafer Alston were a combined 4 for 17 for nine points in the first half.
O'Neal finished with two points and didn't make a field goal, while former Clippers guard Richardson had just four in more than 28 minutes. Wright had five points in 29 minutes on 2-for-9 shooting.
``This was disappointing, to have a game like this,'' Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. ``It's not what we set out to do today, and there's no excuses. The starting time of the game is no excuse. We were never really in it, even from the beginning. It was just a different level of energy.''
With No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin getting close to rejoining his teammates in practice, the Clippers finally appear to be playing up to their talent level - at least in Los Angeles. They haven't lost at home since Dec. 13, beating Boston, Portland and the Lakers during the string before easily handling Miami to extend their longest home winning streak since November 2006.
``We're beginning to establish an attitude and an identity,'' Davis said. ``We're starting to trust each other on the floor, and our chemistry is starting to get better. My best is yet to come, and I know the team's best is yet to come.''
Kobe Bryant, Brandon Roy, Ray Allen and Wade have visited Staples Center during the streak, and the Clippers severely limited each talented guard - well, except Kobe, who scored 33 - with solid wing defense from Gordon and his shot-blocking big men Kaman and Camby inside.
``We've really got better defensively,'' Gordon said. ``We're doing a lot of things right. We can still get better, but we're putting it together.''
Al Thornton scored also scored 13 points for the Clippers, who have lost four straight road games heading into Tuesday's trip to Memphis.
``We need to take this show on the road,'' Dunleavy said. ``We've been playing the best we have this year, but there is better play to come.''
Alston, who rejoined the Heat on Thursday after New Jersey bought out his contract, scored just four points in 23 minutes in his second game as Miami's starting point guard, but the Heat struggled at every position in their second straight road loss to the Clippers.
Chalmers played sparingly and didn't score until hitting a 3-pointer with 7:08 to play.
NOTES: Clippers backup G Sebastian Telfair was inactive with a sore groin. ... Heat F James Jones was inactive for the second straight game. ... Actress Gabrielle Union watched the game from courtside.